Reviews

A Smooth and All-Able Pen

Many of the pleasures of seeing a complete Henriad are expected.  We witness the full transformation of the bawdy Prince Hal (Alex Hassell), in whom his father once saw “riot and dishonour stain the brow,” into King Henry V, capable of such rousing rhetoric as the St. Crispian’s Day Speech.  We watch old Jack Falstaff, the endlessly charismatic […]

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Reviews

Presume Not That I Am the Thing I Was

Rumour (Antony Byrne), a force responsible for “Stuffing the ears of men with false reports,” enters to address the audience.  He means to “noise abroad that Harry Monmouth fell / Under the wrath of noble Hotspur’s sword.”  Typically “painted full of tongues,” this Rumour bears a t-shirt with Rolling Stones logo, a clever if somewhat irrelevant touch.  Henry […]

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Reviews

I’ll Play My Father

Henry IV (an appropriately weary Jasper Britton), who had planned to alleviate his guilt over the death of Richard II with a voyage to Jerusalem (“I’ll make a voyage to the Holy Land, / To wash this blood off from my guilty hand”), soon finds his kingdom internally divided: unrest in Scotland and Wales, rebellion from […]

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Reviews

The Landlord of England

A coffin rests center stage.  In Shakespeare’s text, Richard II begins with the eponymous king (David Tennant) sitting upon his throne and arbitrating a dispute between Henry Bolingbroke (Jasper Britton) and Thomas Mowbray (Christopher Middleton), the former accusing the latter of participating in the successful assassination of the Duke of Gloucester, the king’s uncle.  However, in […]

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Reviews

There’s a Big Dark Town, It’s a Place I’ve Found

James Thiérrée is the director, set designer, and choreographer behind the dance-drama Tabac Rouge.  The grandson of Charlie Chaplin, his production is a bit like a silent movie with sound—that is, while none of the characters speak, and while almost all story is communicated visually, he still relies on a series of sound effects, largely mechanical in nature.  In […]

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Reviews

God and the Law

Who knew all Ibsen needed was a bit of menace?  A little over a year ago, BAM presented the Young Vic’s stellar production of A Doll’s House, which tore off the play’s moralizing veneer and exposed a domestic thriller more akin to Hitchcock than Shaw.  Now we have Ghosts, which begins in much the same manner, with Jacob Engstrand […]

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Reviews

The Last-Resort Variety

“The people in that saloon were the best I’ve ever known,” Eugene O’Neill wrote about the motley crew that occupied Jimmy-the-Priest’s, the dive bar which provided the inspiration for The Iceman Cometh and the one in which the playwright attempted suicide in 1912.  This conflict—good company, bad circumstances—dominates Iceman, a drama about a makeshift (and most homosocial) family of […]

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Reviews

Time for Rehearsal

Before Beckett or Ionesco there was Luigi Pirandello, whose Six Characters in Search of an Author was allegedly so shocking to its original audience that people could be heard crying out, “Madhouse!” in response to what they were seeing.  Now, unfortunately, its impact has dulled, and we are left with a play that feels very much like […]

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Reviews

The Monolith Is Missing

Last weekend, the American masterpiece Angels in America was revived in a Dutch translation at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn.  Belgian director Ivo van Hove has pared down Tony Kushner’s play—which one character, commenting on the spectacle of it, calls “Very Steven Spielberg”—so that all that remains are the characters and their conversations.  There […]

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